When God asks the IMPOSSIBLE
we have to make it sound possible!
Some words I have written for the end of the opening devotions of the West Midlands Synod next Saturday hit me with the power of a boxers punch this weekend: “When will we start answering the questions? When will we stop questioning the answers?”
It was as if I had taken an uppercut to the chin from the words and as I picked myself up from the canvass I realised that I had to believe in the impossible to win the fight. I delivered a reflection on Friday night that tamely asked questions as if I was dancing like Cassius Clay (remember?) and cleverly ducking and weaving to avoid the answers. Then, WHAM, it hit me with full power and I had written it myself: “When will I stop questioning the answers?” I don’t know whether I can get up again to continue the fight! I, and I doubt that I am alone, keep questioning the answers that we receive because we don’t like them, believe them or trust them and, anyway, the answer is impossible! The problem is, and the reason I keep getting hit by the power of the answers, is that the answer to so many of our prayers seem, well, to be honest, IMPOSSIBLE!
So, for every answer that knocks me down, I get up to fight back with another question until I gracefully retire and sit down in a corner to become a spectator watching the fight from the safety of a seat somewhere.
Every prayer is a conversation with our Father who answers us with love, but like every child we question, “why?” or “how?” or “when?” We listen in awe to the answer, but always want to know the why, or how or when before we will do it? Without those answers how can the impossible ever be possible? Oh, there I go again, another question from my doubting mind! Like every prayer a sermon, message or reflection is also prepared in conversation with our Father and what do I do when the answers to the questions I ask I know are not going to be believed, trusted or followed. Do I translate the IMPOSSIBLE into the possible and dilute God’s message into something acceptable or deliver it as it is and start LIVING the answer?
My question this weekend was: “Is the church falling apart or is is still being put together?” Then I started to question the answer because for people to give up our ’temple traditions’ of many years just isn’t going to happen. It’s IMPOSSIBLE, isn’t it? So should I tell it as something that is possible or LIVE with the impossible knowing that I, and you, can’t achieve it on our own, but God can through us? The answer to that is unquestionable for, as Mary is told, “nothing is impossible with God,” (Luke 1: 37) and if I doubt that I can get through the eye of a needle Jesus says: “For YOU it is impossible, but with God anything is possible!” Luke 18: 23-27)
So, instead of fighting the answers to our questions in conversations with God if we trust and obey when we are told to do what seems IMPOSSIBLE we will win against all the odds — and it won’t be so painful!
The answer to my question for the weekend is that God is still putting the Church together and although it seems impossible it can happen through us……My reflection is attached at the end of the letter OR if you want to take time and listen https://youtu.be/M-jVxk1T9FA
The words that hit me so hard came from a reflection at the end of a devotion for Synod on Racial Justice with a reminder of how many policies, promises and resolutions seem to be forgotten:
How many policies must be written?
How many promises will be forgotten?
When will we stop writing new policies?
When will we stop breaking our promises?
When will we start answering the questions?
When will we stop questioning the answers?
Please remember the next ‘Saturday Morning Talk’ arranged by the Church and Society Group is on 20th March at 10.15 for 10.30 when Diane Bennett has kindly agreed to talk about Caring Hands in the Vale.
We plan to resume services in Church again with the same social distancing policies as before on Easter Sunday. It will still be necessary to let me know if you would like to attend as numbers will be limited.
Dear and glorious God, we cry to you.
At the moment, love seems both deeply hidden and alive like never before.
Selfishness is alarmingly exposed, numbing us to the fear which feeds it.
Selflessness is gloriously and exhaustingly alive, restoring our faith in you and in humanity.
In this Lenten time, stir in us, waking your love, enriching us with grace to be gracious.
Comfort us to know that our small steps made well are your active, powerful love.
By the Revd Elizabeth Gray-King, URC Education & Learning Programme Officer and member of St Columba’s URC
God Bless, Richard